Forms of the Gurdjieff Teaching
Gurdjieff chose to express his teaching in many forms. The first form, initiated in the Russian period, continues to this day at the Society and its worldwide affiliates: group meetings in which the ideas and methods of the teaching are thoroughly and deeply explored. A second form, the Movements or sacred dances, offers a unique approach to self-awareness and the development of integrated attention. Classes work on a large repertory of dances and exercises, choreographed by Gurdjieff primarily on the basis of models witnessed during his years of travel in remote regions. Music represents a third essential expression of the teaching. Piano music to accompany the Movements was composed by Gurdjieff in collaboration with a highly trained Russian composer, Thomas de Hartmann. There is, as well, a body of "salon" or concert music, composed by Gurdjieff and de Hartmann in the mid-1920s, now available in a four-volume edition and a growing discography. Finally, there are Gurdjieff's own writings and those of his close students, of which a recommended set appears on our Resources pages.
The Gurdjieff teaching is an oral teaching: it must be passed from teacher to student and must be lived to be well understood, but it has a firm foundation in books, the Movements, and the music. This diversity is a means of preservation and transmission of the teaching, and is one of its hallmarks.